October 30, 2018

Book Review | Alex, Approximately

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You’ve Got Mail is one of my all time favorite movies. It has beautiful shots of New York and books, lots and lots of books. What’s not to love? It also has a great enemies turn lovers story line that is compelling to watch. When I heard that there was a YA version of this story with vintage films instead of books, I was so excited to check it out.

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett follows Bailey “Mink” Rydell, a film fanatic with a love for vintage clothing. She has just moved to a small beach community in California to live with her dad, and to find Alex, her friend from an online film forum. She has no idea who Alex is and does not tell him that she has moved to his hometown, instead wanting to seek him out and see if they are drawn to each other as easily as they are online. But then she meets Porter, a boy from work who is drop dead gorgeous and gets under her skin. Bailey has to find out who to go with: Alex or Porter. (Spoiler but not really because it is in the synopsis on the back of the book: they are one and the same).

I thought overall that this was an okay story. It was about what I expected for a YA version of You’ve Got Mail, although I will admit I had higher expectations.

I think it might have benefited more if we could have seen things from both Bailey and Porter’s perspectives. Bailey isn’t necessarily a bad main character, but she has this naïveté that feels so unrealistic to me, and I’m saying this as someone who was very sheltered growing up. I also would have personally gone about their first meeting being different. The whole relationship starts with him being a complete ass and making fun of her (not mild teasing, making fun of her) and then she hates him for five seconds before remembering that he’s hot. It could have been something simple (and yes, predictable) like they met at work, thought each other were attractive, but he was being a bit too bossy and she was being pretentious (which she kind of is) and that was their big reason of disliking each other.

It also felt like there was all this unnecessary drama added in to make the story longer, mostly involving an old surfer friend of Porter’s who was acting like a tool the whole time just because. It was a bit boring.

Again, this was an okay book. I don’t know if it is something I will re-read again, but for what it was, it was all right.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5 Stars.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

October 11, 2018

Book Review | Scream All Night

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When you read the synopsis of a book, you expect the book to follow through with what those two paragraphs promise. Boy, does Scream All Night not follow through.
scream all night
Scream All Night by Derek Milman follows Dario, the youngest son of a eccentric indie horror filmmaker. Dario has been emancipated from his family and the crazy world of the Moldavia movie studio for several years, but he is called back for his father’s funeral. During the will reading, Dario is appointed head of the failing studio and must find a way to help save the company from having to sell to a bigger corporation that will turn their projects into cookie cutter horror flicks.
The book started off promising, introducing us to Dario and his less than favorable feelings toward Moldavia and having to grow up on a movie set. However, this should have been an introduction and then something he overcomes, Dario spends the entire book gripping about this point. The reader learns very quickly how much Dario’s father stunk as a parent, but Dario does nothing to show how he can be better than his dad until the last 30 pages of the book. Instead he complains to every person about what a terrible person his dad was and acts superior to his older brother who has known nothing of the world outside of the castle.
The other characters were similarly angsty and were constantly repeating their issues without truly growing or trying to move past them. The only character I kind of liked was Hayley, but she was not fleshed out at all. She ended up being a manic pixie dream girl. Still, she was more bearable than the rest of the characters.
I thought this was going to be a fun look into the indie/horror film industry. Instead I trudged through a 394-page story focused on family drama. The only way I managed to get through it was by imaging the Moldavia castle as some sort of Scooby Doo-Tim Burton hybrid. Even that didn’t help. Sadly, this book was a huge let down.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars.
Have you read Scream All Night? What were your thoughts? Share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
October 1, 2018

Book Review | The Cheerleaders

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Hey there, Literature Lovers!

For the month of October I decided to check out a few thriller/spooky books in order to get the mood for Halloween. I’m not normally someone who gravitates toward these types of stories because I am easily scared, but thought it would be worth stepping out of the comfort zone and giving a new genre a try. The first book I decided to test out was The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas.
cheerleaders
The Cheerleaders is a young adult thriller that follows Monica, a high school junior who is on her school’s dance team. The school is planning a memorial to honor the cheerleaders who died five years before, including Monica’s older sister Jen who committed suicide after the murder of her two best friends. While searching for something in her stepfather’s desk, Monica stumbles across some letters that question whether the police really caught the man who killed her sister’s best friends. The rest of the novel focuses on Monica and her friend Ginny piecing together the story of what happened five years ago.
The overall concept of the cheerleaders dying was interesting and kept me intrigued, although I did feel like the ending was a bit obvious. I’ve never seen the Pretty Little Liars show, but it felt like this was a story that could have happened on that show. Alongside the murder mystery, the author was trying to tackle some very serious topics, but I don’t think in the end that they were handled the right way.
Spoilers Below: (trigger warning for statutory rape and abortion)
 
Monica hooked up with an older guy named Brandon over the summer and got pregnant. She does not tell anyone about this except her mom, although she excludes the identity of the father, and gets an abortion. This is never explictly said, but most of the early chapters heavily allude to this. Brandon is suddenly employed by the school as the track and field coach and Monica is left wrestling with her lingering feelings for him and knowing that it was wrong. In the very end it is discovered that she is not the first high school girl Brandon has taken advantage of. What annoyed me was that this was an important storyline throughout the book and a pretty defining thing for Monica, and in the end she does not blame him for being a monster who used her. Instead she says that she used him too. No, Monica. Just no. I think that the author had shown some great growth for this character and then did not follow through.
 
My favorite character was Ginny. She was nice, helpful, and just seemed like the kind of character you would want to give a big hug. Everyone else felt flat for me, including our main character Monica. I also enjoyed the scenes that were flashbacks of Jen from five years ago. It was interesting to see what was actually happening with her and getting a better understanding of who she was at the time of the deaths.
This was just an okay book to me.
 
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars.
 
Have you read The Cheerleaders? What did you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!